Oktoberfest officially begins this weekend, on Saturday, September 16, and runs through Tuesday, October 3 this year, heralding the start of Beer Autumn and the Harvest Ale season. Here in Central Oregon, the Bend Oktoberfest also kicks off this weekend to start the festivities, returning to downtown Bend for its 13th annual edition this Friday and Saturday, the 15th and 16th. (And full disclosure, Downtown Bend gave me two free steins plus two tokens good for beer.)
Friday the festivities run from 3 to 10pm, and then from noon to 10pm on Saturday. For those unfamiliar with downtown Bend, here’s the layout:
It’s free to attend though of course, you’re paying for food, beer, and wine. For beer, there are no tasters—they serve full pints of beer, in their steins, which costs $8 for the stein plus a beer token (the token is for a pint) and then $5 per pint (token) after that. The regular steins are plastic, though for a few dollars more you can get a ceramic stein as well.
Here are some details from their press release:
The Downtown Bend Business Association presents the 13th annual Bend Oktoberfest on September 15th and 16th in Downtown Bend on Oregon and Irving Streets by the Downtown Bend parking garage. Bend Oktoberfest is an incredible opportunity to sample seasonal local craft beers as well as select Bavarian wines, eat unique food, and participate fun events like the Wiener Dog Races, Tricycle Races, Yodeling contests and more. All of this takes place in a FREE family-friendly environment. Last year was the event’s largest Oktoberfest yet, with over 12,000 neighbors and friends in attendance. This is DBBA’s largest fundraiser of the year where 100% of the profits go directly to downtown beautification efforts, such as the flower basket program and daily cleaning.
Similar to the original Munich festival which celebrates local beer, Bend Oktoberfest will feature local beer as well as authentic German brews. We have eleven local breweries participating, each serving seasonal beers brewed in the spirit of Oktoberfest! In addition to the amazing beer selection, Bend Oktoberfest will showcase delicious food and authentic German wines. You can also listen to the Mirko Pressler Band — an authentic Oompah band – to dance the night away – including the famous chicken dance competition!
One of the most anticipated events of the festival is the famous Weiner Dog Race that happens at promptly 4pm on Saturday Sept 16th (wiener dog registration is at 3). Although all our events are well attended, the Weiner Dog Race draws the largest crowd! Be sure to arrive early in order to get a great seat in the expanded bleacher seating area on Irving. This year we are also featuring an expanded OnPoint Family Fun Fest, where kids can enjoy bounce structures, play giant jenga, cornhole and other interactive games.
And, Downtown Bend has posted the list of beers that will be pouring. That link has the full descriptions, but here’s the short version (each brewery is pouring two):
- Three Creeks Brewing: Creekside Smoked Alt and American Hefeweizen
- Silver Moon Brewing: Brüno Märzen Marzenbier and Chapter 2 Casual Ale
- Bend Brewing: David Hasslehefe Hefeweizen and Oktoberfest
- Worthy Brewing: Easy Day Kolsch and Hoppenwolf Oktoberfest
- Mazama Brewing: Bavarian Tart Sour Ale and Oktoberfest
- Sunriver Brewing: Czech Pilsner and Rippin NW Ale
- Boneyard Beer: Skin ‘N Bones and Dominator Doppelbock
- 10 Barrel Brewing: Apocalypse IPA and Smooth Talker Pilsner
- Deschutes Brewery: Hopzeit Autumn IPA and American Wheat
- Crux Fermentation Project: Marzen and Gimme Mo
They promise there will be cider as well, and there is wine for $7 (per token), no glass purchase required.
The first Bend Oktoberfest took place in 2005, which I believe I attended. If memory serves, that first year they actually had glass steins instead of plastic. I may still have that somewhere; if so maybe I’ll post a picture of it if I can find it.